Temperature: mid 70's @ start, 80 degrees @ finish
Official Time: 6:39:39
Swim Time: 48:55 (2:31/100m)
Bike Time: 3:17:31 (17.01 mph)
Run Time: 2:25:45 (11:07 pace)
Place in Age Group (30-34): 73/112
Place in Gender: 414/760
Overall Place: 1699/2670
Racing with a Friend: When I first decided to race a 70.3, I knew I needed support. My solution - get a friend to race with me. Thankfully, I was able to convince one of my best friends, Heidi, to come along for the ride.
|Athlete Check In
|Trying to stay cool
|At the athlete briefing
|Goofing around waiting for Lance to arrive
|Just before heading to the start
The Bike: To be completely honest, I was a little scared that all of my miles on the trainer were not going to translate to the road and that I was going to blow up on the bike. But, fortunately, the course was so pancake flat that other than a serious headwind on the way out, this ride was just like my trainer sessions. Three hours and 15 minutes of non-stop pedaling.
|Heading out from T1
After a rough start, which included that headwind and a bathroom break at mile 13, I kicked it into overdrive on the second half of the bike, negative splitting by 13 minutes in the last 28 miles. And I even rode in aero position for most of the second half. A huge deal considering I had NEVER gotten into the aero bars on the road before.
Nutrition: This is one area I feel that I really did well. Three hours prior to the race, I had a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, coffee and Nuun. 45 minutes out, I had a Luna Protein Bar. After the swim, a Honey Stinger Waffle. During the bike, four Chocolate Outrage GUs. Followed by another Honey Stinger Waffle in T2 and two more GUs during the run. It seemed to work for me and I never felt hungry or low energy. Maybe poorly hydrated, but that's a different story.
Strippers: No, not that kind of stripper. The wetsuit removal kind. Wiggle out of the top of your wetsuit, lay on the ground and two people rip it off you. Best thing ever.
The Bling: Just awesome.
The Swim: Prior to this race, I had never swam in open water. I had never been in a mass start. And I had never attempted to remove my wetsuit with any sort of speed. Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out at the start, even if I was doing my best to hide it.
I knew that on the perfect day, I could probably finish the swim in 45 minutes. About 30 seconds after the gun, I realized that it wasn't the perfect day. The mass start and open water kind of overwhelmed me. I was flailing. I swam with my head up. I swam backstroke. I swam breaststroke. I swam off course. I swallowed salt water.
It wasn't until 38 minutes in (I checked my watch) that I found my groove and cruised into transition. It was actually quite frustrating. Once I was swimming normally, I wanted to kick myself for getting so worked up. Later, I was shocked to learn I had only missed my "perfect day" time by about 4 minutes.
|coming into T1 (Ignore the finger in the shot)
Hydration: In case you forgot, I am mildly freaked out by my bike. I am almost always certain that I am going to crash. Because of this, I was not brave enough to grab a replacement water bottle at the aid stations along the bike course. That meant I had 42 oz of water on the bike with me and once it was gone, it was gone - no matter how hot it was.
Right before I hit the mile 50 marker, I finished the last of my Nuun. 20 minutes left on the bike and nothing left to drink. Despite being very well hydrated heading into the event, those 42 oz of fluid were not enough to hydrate me during the first four hours of the race and I was so parched heading into the run. It was kind of a recipe for disaster.
The Run Course: Three 4.4ish mile loops. In direct sunlight. On an airstrip. Pure torture.
Signage: Although this was a very well run event entirely worth the $250 price tag, the pre-race (i.e. athlete check in/expo) was kind of a cluster. There was a severe lack of signage and we found ourselves wondering around quite a bit. A couple of big arrows would have been killer.
The Run: Although I finished the run in 2:25:45, well within in the 2:10-2:30 window that I anticipated, it was rough. Right from the start, I knew I was dehydrated and my legs didn't have the power that I needed. So, I made a deal with myself - run one minute, walk one minute. I knew that as long as I just kept moving I'd finish. Sure, I wanted it to be over as soon as possible, but I gave it everything I had on that day.
Of course, as I sit here now, I can say, "Maybe if it wasn't so hot. Maybe if I had drank more on the bike. Maybe if I didn't push it so hard on the second half of the bike." There are a million "what ifs". But, I own that 2:25:45. I kept going when I really wanted to stop. And now, I have a mark to beat.
The Aftermath: Between the sunburn and muscle soreness, post race (and the last two days) has been ugly. I'm hobbling around. I'm short-tempered. I'm tired. But I don't really care, it was freaking awesome and I can't wait to do it again.